A Look at Our DUP MPs

The ever excellent Newshound carries a Suzanne Breen look, from the Sunday Tribune, at the 9 newly elected DUP MPs in Red-necks and rabble-rousers. Or is the DUP human after all?

The article has moments of humour as well as political assessments , for example when discussing Nigel Dodds:

Nigel Dodds reckons new babies won votes for Mark Durkan and Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy.

Wife Diane is warned that, if Sinn Féin threatens to snatch North Belfast next election, she must “take full advantage of modern technology” to produce a baby for the campaign trail.

“I’ve done my bit for God and Ulster, I’m not doing that!” replies the Shankill Assemblywoman.

  • beano; EverythingUlster.com

    Found that quite interesting myself, particularly Simpson and P. Robinson. When “In 1996, the IRA tried to kill him while visiting his son in hospital. Andrew, who had Spina Bifida, later died.” you can understand why they’re so distrustful of Sinn Fein.

  • Snapper

    Whilst I have absolutely no problem in humanising politicians I feel that one should be consistent in that regard.

  • Jo

    Sanpper, er..I think that the “different angle” (that is, the essence of journalism!) is precisely what makes the article interesting and readable. Its a tad difficult to write any such article about the SF personalities when the McCartney, Disappeared and Northern Bank issues have still to be resolved or at least could be the subject of a news story in the same paper as such an article…

  • middle-class taig

    It’s no longer fashionable to call DUP leaders unreconstructed bigots. It’s just so passé. Now we have to set aside their insistence on excluding nationalists from participation in this society, and instead look to their cuddly side, and remember what thoroughly decent chaps they are.

    Old peccadilloes must not be mentioned.

    Ulster Resistance? – now, now, let’s not rake up that old stuff.
    Naming Catholic houses (from which Catholic families were subsequently forced out)? – yes, but you have to put that in its historical context and remember that Dr Paisley never expressly called for anyone to be put out of their house.

    Jokes in the Council Chamber about the assassination attempt on Alex Maskey? – sure they were just having a wee josh with Alex, it was all good affectionate banter.

    DUP leaders have bolstered and fomented community division throughout the troubles and beyond. The only fenians they want about the place are ones who will allow themselves to be pushed around.

    One reason why you don’t get this kind of thing on SF leaders is that there’s a broad journalistic policy of dehumanising them – of casting them as cold, merciless, bloodthirsty murderers – Brendan O’Connor had an outrageous piece of that nature in the Sindo, seeking to defeminise Mary Lou McDonald and a fellow journalist who he feels is overly sympathetic to the republican position – I think it’s on Nuzhound too.

  • Gum

    I found the article interesting. I think if you are going to do a piece on politicians’ quirks you gotta keep it lighthearted and keep the old arguements aside. I think there is affection for the DUP here, but have no problem with it in the context of the article.

    BTW, the attempted murder of Dodds – one of the most shameful and sickening events of the troubles.

  • Chris Gaskin

    I liked the article; it showed that there is a person behind the politics.

    It is a pity some people aren’t mature enough to see that you can hate a person politically and still accept they are human and someone’s father, mother etc

  • Snapper

    Chris,

    I know Jeffrey Donaldson and other DUP members reasonably well, and I must say that on a human level they are good people with Jeffrey in particular being quite likeable.

  • Dave

    As a gay man, I’m appalled at any attempt to make the DUP look human. They’re the most right-wing party in the Commons at the minute, enforcing their religious bigotry at every opportunity (they’re the only political party to have voted against every pro-gay piece of legislation introduced by Labour in the past 8 years).

  • yerman

    The arguments about supposed bias against SF and towards the DUP from Suzanne Breen would only ever carry weight if she were passing them off as completely impartial views – I dont believe she ever does.

    It reminds me of what a lecturer told me at university about writing something. They told me that it was much better to recognise your own bias and highlight that rather than try to pass off your work as completely unbiased.

    MCT

    Maybe we dont see ‘nationalist’ journalists/commentators doing the “soft-focus” pieces on politicians, but they usually aren’t too busy with ‘serious issues’ to do the screamingly hysterical pieces calling all unionists mad foaming mouthed bigots.

  • Dessertspoon

    Good Old Sammy planning to work hard for his Constituents at Westminster –

    “He has bought a book, Walking Tours of London’s East End, and can’t wait to do them.”

    I don’t know how he finds the time with his Council work and constituency work as an MLA. Too many jobs not enough work eh Sammy??

    NB: 17 out of the 18 MPs elected this time around are also MLAs, don’t know how many are councillors too but I’m sure it’s a few. We really need some rules and regs about holding more than one elected office. The whole thing is a disgrace.

  • slackjaw

    Good piece.

    Dave,

    As a gay man, I’m appalled at any attempt to make the DUP look human.

    What, even their gay members?

  • John East Belfast

    “Ian Paisley……..he can’t be accused of inconsistancy……”

    what complete balderdash.

    Is she honestly saying that what Paisley says now, who he speaks to, what he protests about, what he is prepared to accept, what his obectives are…….
    are what they were 40 years ago or even 10 years ago.

  • fair_deal

    CG

    “What strikes me about the article is Suzanne’s apparent affection for the DUP. She is not a person who pulls punches and when commenting on SF her language is noticeably more negative and vitriolic. I can’t imagine her ever lending her name to an article where Martin McGuinness or Gerry Adams would be described as being cuddly like one who “enjoys harmless flirting with female voters”

    “Suzanne Breen could never be referred to as one who writes solely from a journalistic perspective”

    “in stark contrast to her zeal in reporting all negative issues surrounding SF.”

    “the said hack”

    Are some of snapper’s comments about a bias and description of as a ‘hack’ not “an attempt to question her journalistic integrity or sully her professional reputation.”?

  • middle-class taig

    Yerman

    “Maybe we dont see ‘nationalist’ journalists/commentators doing the “soft-focus” pieces on politicians, but they usually aren’t too busy with ‘serious issues’ to do the screamingly hysterical pieces calling all unionists mad foaming mouthed bigots”

    I’ve never seen a nationalist commentator do that. Can you give me an example? It would be quite wrong to label all unionists in this way.

  • Warm Storage

    “NB: 17 out of the 18 MPs elected this time around are also MLAs”

    Just to clarify, Dessertspoon, only 16 of them are MLAs — Eddie McGrady didn’t stand again in 2003.

  • 6countyprod

    It’s hilarious to see some folks try to maintain the erstwhile DUP stereotype.

    Wake up my friends, the word is out. The DUP are just ordinary, hardworking, family oriented people, just like the vast majority of folks in our beloved 6 counties.

    If the DUP politicians are as pragmatic and sucessful in politics as they have been in business, education, law, medicine and the Christian ministry, then we all could have a much brighter future.

  • queens_unionist

    “As a gay man, I’m appalled at any attempt to make the DUP look human. They’re the most right-wing party in the Commons at the minute, enforcing their religious bigotry at every opportunity (they’re the only political party to have voted against every pro-gay piece of legislation introduced by Labour in the past 8 years). This kind of journalism makes my skin crawl…”

    and quite right too. The DUP will get my 100% backing in there attempts to sop the rot regarding gay rights.
    Anyone who speaks against the evils of homosexuality will always have my support [within Christian reasoning]

  • Gum

    queens_unionist

    what gives you the right to force homosexuals to live by your own moral code? Im a Christian too, but my religion is MY religion and I don’t have the right to force it upon anyone else. Anyway, the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality in Leviticus is at odds with Jesus’ central message of loving your neighbour.

  • Young Fogey

    Anyone who speaks against the evils of homosexuality will always have my support

    Care to define what these evils are?

  • exBangorBoy

    >>Anyone who speaks against the evils of homosexuality will always have my support [within Christian reasoning]

    And the DUP wonder why stereotypes about them keep getting propogated….

    There used to be a Tory MP called Sir John Stokes who was affectionately known around Westminster as “the Member for the seventeenth century”. Looks like there might be 9 new contenders for that title.

  • Liam

    Hate the sin, not the sinner…..

  • 6countyprod

    Dave says: As a gay man, I’m appalled at any attempt to make the DUP look human.

    I am wondering why this contributor has not been given a red card, or at least warned, for making such an intolerant statement.

    If anyone dared to suggest that a homosexual was sub-human, they would be immediately, and rightly so, red-carded.

  • Chris Gaskin

    6countyprod

    I wonder if the comment had of been attributed to Sinn Féin would you protest in the same way?

    Political parties are fair game here and always have been, plus a political party can’t sue for defamation

  • DCB

    Doesn’t Leviticus have all sorts of other gems about stoning women and not planting different crops together and avoiding women when they are in their monthly unclean phase (though there’s somehting to be said for the latter)

  • 6countyprod

    Chris

    What’s good for the goose…

    Dave’s comments are intolerant and unacceptable, no matter who they refer to. He was aiming them at the individual MP’s in the article.

  • Colm

    6 countyprod

    I notice you don’t seem that bothered by queens_unionists truely intolerant and unacceptable attack on gays.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Well queens_unionist, it looks like you may be disappointed; there are several gay DUP members, some of whom are elected representatives, who are still in the closet. It’s only a matter of time before Outrage or another organization outs them. When that happens you’re going to have to look elsewhere to vent your old prejudices.

    In any case, Christ never said anything about gays, good or bad. Probably a good thing too, given that he exclusively kept company with men who called him “master” a lot.

  • Roger

    Yes there are gay members within the DUP and Paisley a]knows it b] doesnt have a problem with it.

    I dont think everybody should slate queens unionists view as he is entitled to his opinion and lets face it many hold the same opinion I personally however don’t agree with it.

    Regarding Suzanne Breen does she still write for the Newsletter.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    How does Paisley not have a problem with it? Surely he would see homosexuality as an appalling sin which he would not like to be connected with in any slight way? Surely he would not let known homosexuals to remain in the party? Would a homosexual feel welcome in the DUP after all the things Ian Paisley has said about them?

  • Roger

    Well there are gay men in the DUP and a very small number of catholics read ‘Northern Protestants an unsettled people;.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    I never mentioned Roman Catholics, my point was how can Paisley not have a problem with Gay men after he has called them every possible he could think of?!? Do you happen to know any of these DUP homosexuals? If so what do they think off their homophobic leader?

  • Roger

    I have seen a few suspect members but I would not care to comment however I have no problem what so ever with gay members in the DUP a party which I support.

    I admire Ian Paisley a lot and think he has a great team of MP’s the only one I am not a fan of is McCrea.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    And yet again you completely avoid the point, if you make a point you should at least try to back it up. How do you know paisley does not have a problem with homosexual members?

  • Roger

    He said I have no problem with Homosexuals.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    Then why does he paint an image that they are the scum of the earth on peoples minds? That does not sound like he appreciates them very much.

  • Roger

    Well he disciplined a member of his party who ridiculed a gay member and faced court proceeding as a result.

    Paisley may feel that the practice is wrong but I don’t think he is against gay people otherwise he wouldn’t have them is his party.

  • David

    Regarding the DUP and gays.

    Paisley is very opposed to homosexuality on moral grounds, but I am not aware of this being DUP party policy. Party members do not seem to have to subscribe to Paisley’s moral views on plenty of other issues (e.g. line dancing) so presumably they don’t have to agree with his stance on homosexuality.

    As one of the other posters pointed out a DUP Newtownabbey Councillor was convicted in court of harassment of a gay man. The harassment consisted entirely of a series of juvenile jeers about the man’s homosexuality. The DUP definitely disciplined the councillor concerned, he may have even beeen expelled from the party.

  • bertie

    There are at least 4 different elements of homosexuality that an individual may take a slightly different view on, the predisposition and those with the predisposition, the activity and those engaged in the activity. Some people view the predispoition differently than the activity and some take a “love the sinner” view. Yhen again some can be disgusted with the individual but still not approve of discriminating against someone on those grounds.

    I am not that bothered about homosexuality as long as it is not compulsary. However I also think that the “tolerance” some quite rightly advocate in this area towards homosexuals, should be extended to those who consider the acts a sin (as long as they do not discriminate against them).

    The comments about homophobia seem to being directed against the DUP and there is undoubtedly a correlation between religious conviction and disapproval of homosexual “lifestyle”. However there has been a big increase of former UUP members into the DUP.

    I would suspect that homophobia (homo-skepticism?)is to be found in all the parties to some degree.
    Steven King did not make any secret about once being told not to appear on TV as often, no because of what he was saying but because of his “lifestyle image”.

  • Davros

    It’s a minefield.

    I think gays are entitled to their own life and privacy. The policy of don’t ask, don’t tell seems to have been in force for years.

    On a religious front, hate the sin, love the sinner seems appropriate.

    However two difficulties:

    1)There will be hostility from those with strong religious views

    2) While the party takes a hostile stance on Gay issues such as partnerships, Gay officials will presumably cause offence to some and as such be vulnerable to “outing” tactics such as used by Peter Tatchell and “Outrage”

    These two clash with don’t ask, don’t tell.

    I don’t see an easy answer – because even if the party was able to soften it’s position on Gay issues all that would happen would be that the religious fundamentalists would kick up more of a fuss.

  • 6countyprod

    FYU

    Ian Paisley does not fear or hate anyone. I have never heard him use the term scum of the earth to describe anyone, but he does not shirk his responsibility to teach what the Bible says, so that, invariably, brings him into conflict with those who do not want to hear, or obey what the Bible says.

    Sometimes he may not say things with much tact, but he is just living up to his calling to be faithful when he teaches against sin, as it is expressed in the Bible.

  • Davros

    6CP – Do you think there’s any conflict between his religious stance and his duties and responsibilities as a Politician in a mixed state ? I can understand why some fundamentalists take the view that their religion is central to everything … but how then does that sit with complaints about Roman Catholic Church and Lay involvement of their religion in/and politics ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Roger, there are no “out” gays in the DUP and if there were, I wonder how long they would continue to be members. Paisley may have a “as long as I don’t see anything in the papers I’ll say nothing” attitude but that doesn’t mean he tolerates having gay party members.

  • Comrade Stalin

    “Sometimes he may not say things with much tact, but he is just living up to his calling to be faithful when he teaches against sin, as it is expressed in the Bible. “

    Yeah right. That’s why he said of Catholics that “they breed like rabbits and multiply like vermin” – I guess he was just expressing his opposition to sin.

    Hmm, Wikipedia reports Paisley as having said in 1968 “I will kill all who get in my way” to some reporters. If that’s true, I guess that’s another of Paisley’s biblically-founded utterances.

  • Davros

    Comrade S – wikipedia is not a reliable source.

    e.g.It had NI being run from stormont from 1921 – when Stormont wasn’t built until the 1930’s….finished and opened in 1932.

  • Colm

    6countyprod strongly defends the right of Paisley and the DUP to hold whatever views they will on homosexuality and to expresss them, yet in an earlier comment demanded the ‘red card’ be issued to a gay contributor who gave his hostile views on the DUP about this matter.

    A bit of consistancy is required here. .

  • tiny

    What about Paul Berry, during the election the DUP refused to discuss the matter claiming that the matter was in the hands of Mr Berry’s lawyers, surely writs have been served by now, or was the ‘it’s with the lawyers’ claim lies?

  • 6countyprod

    CS

    So you believe everything you read that puts IP in a bad light, and nothing that may be complimentary to him. Sounds like you need a little broader perspective on life. Wake up and smell the roses, comrade.

    Colm

    Someone who suggests that another person is less than human, as qu did, needs to know that their comment is unacceptable, no matter who it refers to, whether DUP, SF or whoever. Strongly defending a principle or position from the Bible, using measured words, is a lot different to using insulting and degrading words. Some people what to continue to demonize the DUP, but the DUP MP’s are just regular 5-8 folks, like the article clearly exposed.

    Tiny

    I suspect that the DUP does not like its people to act in a hypocritical fashion, so if Paul Berry has been hiding something, it will eventually be dealt with.

  • Colm

    6countyprod

    Firstly it wasn’t qu it was Dave who made the comment you objected to. qu took the very opposite view and called homosexuality evil.

    Dave did not refer to people as individuals, he was referring to what he considered to be the broad attitude of the DUP as a party towards him as a gay man. He feels just as strongly that to be hostile to him is inhuman and he is perfectly entitled to say that.

    qu referred to homosexuality, and therefore by definition people like dave as ‘evil’. Is that not insulting and degrading enough terminology for you to object to.

    You remain very selective in your choice of whose attacks you consider worthy of a red card.

  • 6countyprod

    Davros

    We might be getting a little off the thread here, and might be pulled up for it, but, I suppose it gets more difficult for ‘fundamentalists’, as you call them, to work in an increasingly secular political environment. However, I noticed that the DUP guy who got Trimble’s seat, David Simpson, during his time as mayor of Craigavon, participated in around 600 activities and functions in his area, including events in all sections of the community. Seems like there is a certain pragmatism at work among the DUP politicians.

    I’m not sure if I quite understand the 2nd part of your question, but it seems like the DUP (and SF), are very strong on bread and butter issues. They work hard for their votes, and take nothing for granted. From what I have noticed, at least in certain areas, they can work well with non-paramilitry nationalists. Simpson and Ignatius(s?) Fox of the SDLP got on like a house on fire.

  • Davros

    Thanks for the reply 6CP. I don’t think anybody can complain as it’s clean and it’s political and about the DUP.

    I was thinking primarily of Dr Paisley – the conflict between his religious beliefs( and values) and the needs of a diverse state – This isn’t whataboutery, but the best and most clear-cut example I can think of would be for a devout RC Minister for Health dealing with the issues of birth control and abortion.

  • 6countyprod

    Colm

    You’re right. Sorry I got that mixed up. I had forgotten who had made the original statement. Sorry qu and Dave!

    After the election I was fascinated at how the DUP had achieved so much, so I got them to send me their 2005 Manifesto. I read it, and have just glanced through it again, but I can’t find anything in it that talks about gay people. Maybe I missed it. As the DUP do not have a particular policy statement on the issue, I took Dave’s comments to refer to some, or all of the newly elected MP’s.

    As for qu’s evils of homosexuality, I presume he gets that from Romans 1.21-32, especially verse 27.

    The game has moved on and the red card issue is creating more heat than light, so I promise I will try not to call for any more cards to be shown.

  • bertie

    The DUP had a very strong anti-racism statement in their manifesto and it does not strike me as the sort of party to be pc for the sake if it. It also comes out in favour of the social model of disability, which is very “enlightened”.

    The UUP did not have anything on disability in its manifesto, at least the SDLP and Alliance mentioned it.

  • 6countyprod

    Absolutely, Davros. We are talking about a clash of cultures, secular and religious. Look at the US. Moral and ethical issues are some of the main battlegrounds in political life there.

    NI and ROI, in contrast to the rest of the (British) Isles, are still very religious and conservative countries and the liberal agenda is lagging behind here.

    Got to go, the match is on. This posting gets to be a little addictive!